Electronics and Semiconductors

Taking Energy from Idle Electric Vehicles to Power Large Buildings

15 June 2017

The long-term battery aging test set up at Warwick’s Energy Innovation Center. (Source: University of Warwick)The long-term battery aging test set up at Warwick’s Energy Innovation Center. (Source: University of Warwick)New battery research from the University of Warwick shows that stored energy from electric vehicles (EVs) can be used to power large buildings.

The results of the development could lead to new possibilities for creating smart, renewable energy in construction and buildings. Researchers were able to demonstrate that vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology can generate enough energy from idle EV batteries to be pumped into the grid and power buildings.

Researchers were able to create an accurate battery degradation model for some of the most advanced lithium ion batteries to predict battery capacity and power fade over time under various aging acceleration factors such as temperature, state of charge, current and depth of discharge.

Under the model, Warwick researchers developed a smart grid algorithm that calculates how much energy a vehicle requires to carry out daily journeys as well as how much energy can be taken from its battery without negatively affecting it, or even improving its longevity.

The team then put the algorithms in action to see if they could power the University of Warwick’s International Digital Laboratory, a large building with a 100-seat auditorium, two electrical labs, a teaching lab and meeting rooms that holds about 360 staff.

They discovered that the number of EVs parked on campus — about 2.1 percent of the overall car population — could power the building and that the capacity fade in the EV batteries would be reduced by up to 9.1 percent and power fade by up to 12.1 percent over a year.

Previously, the idea of extracting energy from EVs to power V2G would cause the lithium-ion batteries to degrade more rapidly. However, Warwick researchers found this process could be exploited to actually improve a battery’s lifespan.

“These findings reinforce the attractiveness of vehicle-to-grid technologies to automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers: Not only is vehicle-to-grid an effective solution for grid support – and subsequently a tidy revenue stream – but we have shown that there is a real possibility of extending the lifetime of traction batteries in tandem,” says Kotub Uddin, a researcher at Warwick.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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